Henry Winkler Opens Up About ‘Debilitating’ Pain After ‘Happy Days’ Ended

It’s been nearly forty years since the sitcom “Happy Days” went off the air in 1984, but it is still beloved by fans to this day. Henry Winkler, who played Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli on the show, recently opened up about the “debilitating” pain he felt when “Happy Days” ended after eleven seasons.

Winkler’s ‘Debilitating’ Pain After ‘Happy Days’

“There were eight or nine years at a time when I couldn’t get hired because I was The Fonz, because I was typecast,” Winkler, 77, told TODAY. “I had psychic pain that was debilitating because I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know where to find it, whatever it was, I didn’t know what I was going to do. I had a family. I had a dog. I had a roof. Oh. My. God.”

Even after enjoying decades of success in Hollywood, working on the set of “Happy Days” was something that Winkler has never forgotten.

“I loved doing it. I loved playing The Fonz,” he recalled. “I love those people. I loved learning how to play softball. I loved traveling all over the world together with the cast. I would not have traded it. Not only that, but also, I don’t know that I would’ve gotten here if I hadn’t gone through the struggle.”

Winkler is still getting recognized by fans on the street for his work on “Happy Days” to this day.

“People say, ‘Hey, you were The Fonz! What’s cool?’” he recalled, adding that what’s “cool” to him is authenticity.

“I think that is the key to living. And it is not easy to find your authenticity,” Winkler explained. “I’ve opened so many doors. I’ve found canoe paddles. I found scuba gear. I found unread books. I never found, for the longest time, authenticity, which I now know.”

As for what he would tell the younger version of himself that played The Fonz, Winkler had a quick response.

“Life is more fun than you think it is, than you allow it to be. Don’t worry so much,” he advised. “I worried way too much, to the point where it literally made me inert.”

Related: Henry Winkler Once Dressed As Fonzie To Meet Terminally Ill Child, His ‘Happy Days’ Costar Reveals

Winkler On If He’d Do A ‘Happy Days’ Reboot

Earlier this year, Winkler addressed if he would ever be willing to do a reboot of “Happy Days.”

“I wouldn’t want to do it without Ron [Howard], without Don [Most], without Anson [Williams] and without Marion {Ross],” Winkler told Fox News.

Winkler went on to say that he would also be reluctant to do a reboot of “Happy Days” without the late Garry Marshall, who created and produced the sitcom. Marshall sadly passed away back in 2016 at the age of 81, much to the sadness of “Happy Days” fans.

When asked if there is any possibility of a “Happy Days” reunion, Winkler replied, “That’s a good question. I don’t know. I have no idea.”

Full Story: Henry Winkler Reveals If He’d Ever Come Back For A ‘Happy Days’ Reboot

Winkler Is Feeling Grateful 

Winkler also opened up about how grateful he is to still be performing 50 years after he was cast as The Fonz.

“I came out here … this is the truth. Two weeks later, I auditioned at Paramount Studios,” Winkler said of his “Happy Days” audition, according to People Magazine. “I walked in the room. I don’t know where it came from. I just changed my voice. I just went over it. ‘Don’t look at me like that.'”

“I was talking to Garry Marshall and boom! — here I am, in 2023,” he continued, adding that he’s still working in Hollywood in an award-winning role on the show “Barry.”

“Happy Days” was a truly iconic show that has stood the test of time, so it’s not surprising that it was difficult for Winkler to grapple with it coming to an end. We’re glad that he was able to push through this pain, and that he has nothing but fond memories of “Happy Days” today!

James Conrad

James Conrad’s passion for politics is only overshadowed by his longstanding interest in Hollywood. His unique perspective as a gay conservative fuels him to challenge celebrity views and those who think they have a right to tell anyone how to think or vote. James proudly wields his minority point of view to combat identity politics and cut through his typecast. Fun fact: James’ guilty pleasure is the British royal family.

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